The SUN : Healing Powers I

Medical benefits supporting the practice of suryayog

The idea of light as an integral part of all life and creation has been evident since the beginning of time. Sunlight, our major source and provider of light, warmth and energy, not only sustains all life on Earth, but it sustains the Earth itself. It not only provides plants with the energy for photosynthesis, which in turn sustains the lives of all animals and humans but also is the source of much of our knowledge, since most learning occurs by way of our eyes.

The sun is 1.3 million times bigger than the earth. Sunlight coming to earth represents only about one part in 2 billion of the total amount of energy radiating from the sun, and only about 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum is thought to be perceived by the eye. Yet this is sufficient to supply our planet with about 4.69-million horsepower per square mile. This visible portion of the Electromagnetic spectrum, containing all the colors of the rainbow from violet (with the shortest wavelength) to red (with the longest wavelength) is a most important key to human functioning and evolution. Our lives, health and well being are truly dependent upon the Sun.

These waves of electromagnetic energy, traveling at 186,000 miles per second, take about 8 minutes to cover the 93 million miles to earth. Sunlight consists of several types of energy, including cosmic, gamma, and x-rays, ultraviolet and infrared light, and visible light of many colors. The rainbow colors of visible light make our earth and the things God created, beautiful to look at.

The sun’s rays vaporize water which will eventually fall as rain and snow, filling our rivers and reservoirs and making possible the generation of hydroelectric energy. Solar energy is also stored in wood, coal, oil, and natural gas, providing us with heat and energy when we need it. We also have photovoltaic and passive solar systems that allow us to harness sunlight directly.

Warming infrared

The warming infrared rays of the sun, or heat from various sources, are useful in the treatment of neuralgia, neuritis, arthritis, and sinusitis. Heat is usually good in the treatment of any pain. Warmth also helps bring healthful, natural body oils to the surface of the skin, keeping it smooth and protected. Almost all of the food we eat depends upon sunlight to grow. In fact, the energy our bodies receive from the food we eat is, in a sense, solar energy that the plant has stored in the form of fats, carbohydrates, and proteins

Antiseptic ultraviolet

The ultraviolet rays are antiseptic and are capable of killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeasts, moulds, and mites in air and water, and on surfaces. Ultraviolet light also kills germs on our skin. This makes Sunlight a useful treatment for many skin diseases, such as diaper rash, athlete’s foot, psoriasis, acne, boils, and impetigo.

Sunlight also toughens and thickens, the skin, making it less susceptible to injury and infection. Regular, controlled, moderate exposure to sunlight, instead of damaging the skin and aging it, actually protects the skin by building up a natural resistance to the harmful effects of ultraviolet light, while giving it a nice velvety texture

Vitamin D

The sun also provides us with our main source of natural vitamin D. Scientists have long been aware that this nutrient strengthens our bones and muscles and boosts the immune system. UV converts ergosterol in the skin (a naturally occurring higher alcohol belonging to the steroid family) into vitamin D. Ten minutes of daily exposure to sunlight will supply us with all the vitamin D that we need. The principal function of this vitamin is to promote calcium absorption in the gut and calcium transfer across cell membranes. This contributes to strong bones and a contented nervous system.

Low vitamin D is associated with several autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, thyroiditis and Cohn’s disease. Recent laboratory experiments suggest that vitamin D can also prevent the growth and spread of cancerous tumors. Ultraviolet light converts cholesterol in the skin to vitamin D. This vitamin is essential for the proper handling of calcium in the body and thus in the prevention of rickets and adult osteomalacia. Vitamin D is also added to some of the food we eat. It might be possible to get too much of the vitamin this way; but not when we get it from sunlight, since the body makes only what we need.

Cholesterol is a waxy, fatlike substance that your body needs to function normally. It is naturally present in cell walls or membranes everywhere in the body, including the brain, nerves, muscles, skin, liver, intestines, and heart. Your body uses cholesterol to produce many hormones, vitamin D, and the bile acids that help to digest fat. It takes only a small amount of cholesterol in the blood to meet these needs. If you have too much cholesterol in your bloodstream, the excess may be deposited in arteries, including the coronary (heart) arteries, where it contributes to the narrowing and blockages that cause the signs and symptoms, of heart disease

Sunlight therefore, is a good way to lower cholesterol levels in our bodies. If we expose six square inches of our skin to direct sunlight for one hour per day, we will obtain our minimum daily requirement for vitamin D.

Body regulation

Sunlight helps to regulate almost all our bodily processes starting from the top (our minds) and working down, sunlight has been shown to increase our sense of well-being and to improve sleep. Ultraviolet light coming into our eyes stimulate the pineal gland, which helps to regulate our Circadian Rhythm (day and night activity cycles). It has been said, “Dark nights and bright days will help keep the hormones in the body functioning properly”. In one experiment hyperactivity in school children was decreased when the classrooms fluorescent lights were changed to full spectrum lighting. Thyroid function may improve. Hormone imbalances tend to level out.

Resting heart blood pressure and respiration rates are all decreased after exposure to sun. This result is especially true if any of them were high to begin with. Blood sugar levels can be stabilized.

Sunlight stimulates the production of more red blood cells, increasing the oxygen, content of .the blood, and thus increasing muscular endurance. It also stimulates production of more white b1ood cells and enhances oxygen uti1ization, which helps the body maintain its defense against diseases

Appetite may be improved, a1ong with our assimilation, elimination, and metabolic processes. Poisonous chemicals and’ heavy metals are removed from the bloodstream faster, while levels of healthy trace minerals are actually increased in the blood. Muscular strength has been increased, even in those unable to exercise. Sunlight has even been found helpful in the treatment of stomach ulcers.

SUN – the greatest healer

Perhaps one .of its greatest benefits may be the strengthening of the immune system. Fungal infections of the skin are cured or go into remission after sunlight therapy. White blood Cells and antibody levels increase, Studies have shown that repeated short exposures to the sun lowers cholesterol, tri-glycerides, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Sunlight speeds the elimination of toxic chemicals, including metals and pesticides. It also has a dramatic effect on trace minerals, making them more accessible to the body. Jaundice is reduced in both children and adults by exposure to sunlight. Many skin diseases, including acne and psoriases, improve with exposure to sun.

Dr Esther John of the North Carolina Cancer Center has found that a moderate exposure to sunlight very well may lower the risk of breast cancer by 30 to 40%. It has been found that because of light’s influence on various physiological and psychological functions, moderate sunlight may lower profoundly influence mood and fertility in women. PMS has been proven extensively to be quite responsive to light treatment. It appears that light affects serotonin levels in the brain, which will elevate or improve mood. Women receiving adequate levels of sunlight report less depression, fewer mood swings better sleep, more energy, increased concentration and greater mental alertness. Sunlight has been found to be beneficial in the treatment of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, insomnia and bulimia as well.

Depression, SAD, Schizophrenia

Throughout the course of our lives, we all experience episodes of unhappiness, sadness, or grief. Often, when a loved one dies, or we suffer a personal tragedy or difficulty such as divorce or loss of a job, we may feel depressed (some people call this “the blues”). Most of us are able to cope with these and other types of stressful events.

Over a period of days or weeks, the majority of us are able to return to our normal activities. But when these feelings of sadness and other symptoms make it hard for us to get through the day, and when the symptoms last for more than a couple of weeks, we may have what is, called Clinical depression. Clinical depression is usually used to distinguish “true” depression from “the blues”.

Clinical depression is not just grief or sadness. It is a mental illness that challenges your ability to perform even routine daily activities. At its worst, depression may lead you to contemplate or commit suicide. Depression represents a burden for both you and your family. Sometimes that burden can seem overwhelming.

Schizophrenia is another serious mental illness. It is confusing even for health care professionals, and it may actually be a combination of several separate illnesses. People with schizophrenia may have the following symptoms: Delusions, false beliefs held with conviction in spite of evidence to the contrary, Hallucinations, strong perceptions (can be sight, sound, smell, taste, or touch) of objects or events that aren’t there.

Disorganized speech – Disorganized behavior

Usually with schizophrenia, the person’s behavior changes notably. Behavior changes might include the following:

  • Social withdrawal
  • Depersonalization (losing touch with reality) Loss of appetite
  • Loss of hygiene
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations (usually hearing things not actually present)
  • The sense of being controlled by outside forces

A person with schizophrenia may not physically appear to be ill. People with schizophrenia vary widely in their behavior as they struggle with an illness beyond their control. In active stages, those affected may ramble in illogical sentences or react with uncontrolled anger or violence to a perceived threat. People with schizophrenia may also experience relatively passive stages in which they seem to lack personality, movement, and emotion (also called a. flat affect). Peop1e with schizophrenia may alternate in these extremes. Their behavior may or may not be predictable.

SUNLIGHT has been found to be extremely beneficial in the treatment of depression. According to Dr Norman Rosenthal of the National Institute of Mental Health: “Light, a versatile therapeutic tool, has been shown scientifically to have beneficial clinical effects in treating depression & suicidal tendencies.”

Apart from the obvious positive associations we have with a sunny day; the Sun can alter your mood chemically and even prevent depression. The onset of spring gives thousands of people relief from “seasonal affective disorder” or SAD – This miserable condition is a suppression of serotonin experienced by many who are deprived of sunlight during the winter months.

After years of adverse publicity, new research suggests that SUNSHINE actually does bathe us in a favorable light after all. Scientists believe sunlight may reduce the risk of several types of cancer.